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Methods and apparatuses for echo cancelation with beamforming microphone arrays

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Methods and apparatuses for echo cancelation with beamforming microphone arrays


Embodiments include methods and apparatuses for sensing acoustic waves for a conferencing application. A conferencing apparatus includes a plurality of microphones oriented to cover a corresponding plurality of direction vectors and to develop a corresponding plurality of microphone signals. A processor is operably coupled to the plurality of microphones. The processor is configured to perform a beamforming operation to combine the plurality of microphone signals to a plurality of combined signals that is greater in number than one and less in number than the plurality of microphone signals. The processor is also configured perform an acoustic echo cancelation operation on the plurality of combined signals to generate a plurality of combined echo-canceled signals and select one of the plurality of combined echo-canceled signals for transmission.
Related Terms: Arrays Beamforming Vectors Acoustic Wave

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USPTO Applicaton #: #20130039504 - Class: 381 711 (USPTO) - 02/14/13 - Class 381 
Electrical Audio Signal Processing Systems And Devices > Acoustical Noise Or Sound Cancellation

Inventors: Ashutosh Pandey, Darrin T. Thurston, David K. Lambert, Tracy A. Bathurst

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130039504, Methods and apparatuses for echo cancelation with beamforming microphone arrays.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of: U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/495,971, filed Jun. 11, 2011 and entitled “Beamforming Microphone Array for Telepresence Application,” U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/495,961, filed Jun. 11, 2011 and entitled “Combining a Beamforming Microphone Array With an Acoustic Echo Canceller for Teleconferencing Applications,” and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/495,968, filed Jun. 11, 2011 and entitled “Combining a Beamforming Microphone Array With an Acoustic Echo Canceller for Teleconferencing Applications,” the disclosures of each of which are incorporated herein in their entirety by this reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

Embodiments of the present disclosure relate generally to methods and apparatuses for beamforming microphone arrays. More specifically, embodiments of the present disclosure relate to methods and apparatuses with echo cancelation in beamforming microphone arrays.

BACKGROUND

In a typical telepresence application, such as, for example, teleconferencing, a loudspeaker may be located on top, bottom or side of a television set, a microphone may be located in line with the television set and a participant sits in line with a television for the audio conferencing part of it.

Many improvements have been made in teleconferencing and video conferencing systems, which may use microprocessors and software to accomplish a wide variety of system tasks and signal processing algorithms to improve on, compress, and even encrypt video and audio streams. Some teleconferencing applications may include multiple microphones in an array to better capture acoustic patterns of a room and the participants in the room. However, arrayed microphones can cause their own problems with duplicate coverage and echoing.

There is a need for methods and apparatuses to improve on the acoustic quality of microphone arrays with echo cancelation and a need to perform this echo cancelation efficiently.

BRIEF

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the present disclosure include methods and apparatuses to improve the acoustic quality of microphone arrays with echo cancelation and perform this echo cancelation efficiently.

Embodiments of the present disclosure include a method of echo cancellation for a conferencing application. The method includes sensing acoustic waves with a plurality of microphones to develop a corresponding plurality of microphone signals. A beamforming operation is performed to combine the plurality of microphone signals to a plurality of combined signals that is greater in number than one and less in number than the plurality of microphone signals. An acoustic echo cancelation operation is performed on the plurality of combined signals to generate a plurality of combined echo-canceled signals and one or more of the plurality of combined echo-canceled signals is selected for transmission.

Embodiments of the present disclosure include a conferencing apparatus. A plurality of microphones are oriented to cover a plurality of direction vectors and to develop a corresponding plurality of microphone signals. A processor is operably coupled to the plurality of microphones. The processor is configured to perform a beamforming operation to combine the plurality of microphone signals to a plurality of combined signals that is greater in number than one and less in number than the plurality of microphone signals. The processor is also configured perform an acoustic echo cancelation operation on the plurality of combined signals to generate a plurality of combined echo-canceled signals and select one or more of the plurality of combined echo-canceled signals for transmission.

Embodiments of the present disclosure include a conferencing apparatus with a beamforming microphone array. Each microphone of the beamforming microphone array is configured to sense acoustic waves from a direction vector substantially different from other microphones in the beamforming microphone array. A memory is configured for storing computing instructions. A processor is operably coupled to the beamforming microphone array and the memory. The processor is configured to execute the computing instructions to perform a beamforming operation to combine the plurality of microphone signals to a plurality of combined signals that includes a number of signals between one and a number of signals in the plurality of microphone signals. The processor is also configured to execute the computing instructions to perform an acoustic echo cancelation operation on the plurality of combined signals to generate a plurality of combined echo-canceled signals.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a conferencing apparatus according to one or more embodiments of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 illustrates geometrical representations of a beam for a microphone;

FIG. 3 illustrates a top view and a side view of a conference room including participants and a conferencing apparatus disposed on a table and illustrating beams that may be formed by a beamforming microphone array disposed in the conferencing apparatus;

FIG. 4 illustrates a top view and a side view of a conference room including participants and a conferencing apparatus depending from a ceiling and illustrating beams that may be formed by a beamforming microphone array disposed in the conferencing apparatus;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top view and a side view of a conference room including participants and a conferencing apparatus disposed on a wall and illustrating beams that may be formed by a beamforming microphone array disposed in the conferencing apparatus;

FIG. 6 illustrates elements involved in sensing acoustic waves with a plurality of microphones and signal processing that may be performed on the sensed acoustic waves;

FIG. 7 illustrates processing involved in sensing acoustic waves wherein signals from all of the microphones are combined, then acoustic echo cancelation is performed on the combined signal to create a combined echo canceled signal;

FIG. 8 illustrates processing involved in sensing acoustic waves wherein acoustic echo cancelation is performed on signals from each of the microphones, then the echo canceled signals are combined, to create a combined echo canceled signal;

FIG. 9 illustrates processing involved in sensing acoustic waves wherein a subset of signals from the microphones are combined, then acoustic echo cancelation is performed one or more of the combined signals; and



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130039504 A1
Publish Date
02/14/2013
Document #
13493921
File Date
06/11/2012
USPTO Class
381 711
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
10K11/16
Drawings
11


Arrays
Beamforming
Vectors
Acoustic Wave


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